Create a direct connection to SQL Server


Instructions provided describe how to create a direct connection to a SQL Server database.

Connecting directly from a client application to a geodatabase means communication between the database and client takes place by way of a direct-connect driver, not through an ArcSDE service. It also means a lot of the processes that would normally take place on the server are now going to take place on the client machines.

The following are some examples of when to use a direct connection:

• When it is not desired to administer an ArcSDE service. The direct-connect database driver does not require the administration of the ArcSDE service. There is no intermediate giomgr process to set up, configure, or start.

• The direct-connect database driver provides additional options for scaling a system. The direct-connect architecture moves the ArcSDE server functionality to the desktop. This removes the ArcSDE load from the database server and allows additional resources to be freed up for the DBMS, which means better scalability on the database server.

• The direct connection configuration can be useful in failover environments.

• When connecting to an ArcSDE Personal or Workgroup geodatabase through a spatial database connection, a direct connection is required.


The following information can also be found in the ArcGIS Desktop Help. Please see the Related Information below for additional information.

  1. Start ArcCatalog.
  2. Expand Database Connections and double-click on 'Add Spatial Database Connection'.
  3. A server name is not required. For Service, specify 'sde:sqlserver:<SQL Server instance>'.
  4. Fill out the remaining connection properties (Database, Username, and Password).
    [O-Image] direct

Article ID:000009932

  • Legacy Products

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options

Related Information

Discover more on this topic